United States v. Diggs, No. 22-1502 (7th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
When a Chicago jewelry store opened, Diggs and two others exited a Lexus SUV bearing Michigan license plates and entered the store with guns raised. They subdued and handcuffed the security guard and dragged a sales associate to a back room where they handcuffed and pistolwhipped her. One man encountered another sales associate, put a gun to her head, and locked her in the bathroom. A fourth man, McClellan, sat in the Lexus and listened to the robbery on his cell phone before driving the men and more than $400,000 in watches and jewelry away. Diggs and McClellan were tried together and convicted; two men remain at large. Before trial, the court denied the spousal testimonial privilege to Diggs's wife, Adams (his girlfriend at the time of the robbery), finding that Adams fell within the joint-participant exception, The evidence showed that Adams became a co-conspirator on the day of the robbery and only withdrew days later when she told police that Diggs had used her car for the robbery.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed. After considering Adams’s testimony in relation to “all else that happened” at trial, an average juror would not find the government’s case significantly less persuasive without it. The admission of purportedly hearsay testimony by a DHS agent was also harmless error.